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Wednesday 26 September 2018

Martin's seek Leinster title

Dean Goodison

New kids on the block St. Martin's look to end 2017 on a high on Sunday when they face Thomastown in the AIB Leinster Senior club camogie championship final in Netwatch Cullen Park, Carlow (2.30 p.m.).

The Piercestown-based club have been riding the crest of a wave in the last few months but, as the calendar year comes to an end, big prizes are still up for grabs. Apart from an All-Ireland title, none come bigger for a club than provincial success.

In one sense they are in bonus territory, after claiming their first-ever county title last month, however, it's a club that has winning ingrained in their every fibre at this stage and to be the best is what they aspire to.

They are doing it with an average age barely out of the teens. With All Star nominee Sarah O'Connor, even more dominant for club, holding things together, their defence is the basis of their success.

Right across the back six, players have stood up and excelled. They are superb at grinding out wins, they don't have that scorer that can burst out with 2-6 from play but they do have a string of attackers that share the responsibility and work incredibly hard.

But what of the opponents on Sunday, Thomastown? This is side which knocked Oulart-The Ballagh out in the semi-finals in 2016 (2-12 to 2-9) and moved all the way to the All-Ireland semi-final before falling to Sarsfields of Galway.

In the game with Oulart, their hunger was a big part of their success and St. Martin's will expect similar intensity from a side which has tasted defeat so close to a Croke Park appearance and will be hungry to go a couple of steps further.

In that game they were indebted to two soft goals to help them through but they are unlikely to get that from Mags D'Arcy, who is in the form of her life between the sticks for her club.

Much like for their county, Thomastown are backboned by the Farrell sisters.

Shelley has been around the block for a while and is a pacy, dangerous forward that takes some watching.

Meighan will likely hold the fort in defence and be used as a playmaker from deep while Anna, maybe the most impressive of the trio, is a midfield dynamo.

Throw up-and-coming sister Eimear into the mix and it's easy to see why Thomastown have steadily improved in the last couple of seasons. With the experience they have gained, they will probably go into the game as slight favourites.

However, St. Martin's have been improving all the time, there's a lot to like about how they have defended in their three most recent wins against St. Ibar's/Shelmalier, Rathnure and St. Vincent's of Dublin, and they have another big performance in them. Expect it to be close right to the end.

Unfortunately, the support the girls receive, on what could be the biggest day in the camogie club's history, will be weakened considerably by the scheduling of the game on the same day, at the same time, as their hurlers face Cuala.

As usual, this situation doesn't seem to bother Leinster camogie at all.

They are quite happy to play their games with minimal exposure, as long as it suits their scheduling.

There's no reason why they can't use common sense, they just choose not to. It's a pity but hardly a surprise.

Wexford People

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